NEWS: Rep. Joe Barton Highlights Committee’s Investigation into Sebelius’ Obamacare Fundraising

May 29, 2013

Reports also Surface that Nancy-Ann DeParle, Former Obama Point Person for Health Reform and Deputy Chief of Staff, Now Soliciting Insurance Companies for Same Group as Sebelius

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX) last night appeared with Neil Cavuto on the Fox Business Network to highlight the committee’s ongoing investigation into reports that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius may have solicited funding or assistance from the health care industry to help implement Obamacare. Committee leaders recently expanded their investigation, now seeking information from a total of 15 companies and organizations, in addition to requests for information from HHS and Enroll America, the private nonprofit group dedicated to assisting the implementation of the health care law. Full committee chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) is also part of a joint House and Senate request to the Government Accountability Office to determine if Sebelius’ solicitations violated any laws.

Barton’s appearance coincided with a Politico report detailing the active fundraising efforts of Nancy-Ann DeParle, former head of the White House Office of Health Reform and later Obama Deputy Chief of Staff, who left the White House in January and is now working in her spare time to raise millions of dollars from insurance companies for Enroll America. The head of Enroll America, Ann Filipic, also spent years working in the Obama White House. Filipic left her post as Deputy Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement in January 2013 to become president of Enroll America. 

May 28, 2013

Nancy-Ann DeParle fundraising for Obamacare
May 28, 2013
By Jennifer Haberkorn and Brett Norman   

Nancy-Ann DeParle helped get Obamacare enacted during President Barack Obama’s first term. In his second term, she’s trying to get insurers to pony up millions to get the law successfully launched.

Now in the private sector, DeParle is asking top executives at several health insurance companies to donate $1 million or more to Enroll America, a nonprofit organization promoting Obamacare enrollment, several sources familiar with her role said.

DeParle’s free to raise money for any cause she chooses, including a law for which she advocated. But her solicitations underscore the problems the administration is having getting the resources it needs from a recalcitrant Congress to implement the law — and comes as several congressional panels have started probing whether HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius crossed any legal or ethical lines in her own efforts to solicit support for Obamacare’s rollout. …

DeParle, whose experience in both government and the health industry allows her to move in both worlds, did not respond to POLITICO emails or a call seeking comment. She left the government in January after heading the White House Office of Health Reform while Congress fought over the legislation and then served as Obama’s deputy chief of staff. She now has posts at both Brookings and Harvard.

Anne Filipic, president of Enroll America, which is working closely with Obama’s Organizing for Action, declined to answer specific questions about DeParle’s fund-raising. But she said in an email, “Nancy-Ann DeParle has no formal role with Enroll America, but she is supportive of our efforts and has asked others to be as well. We are proud to have someone with such a long record as a champion for quality health care feel so strongly about our mission that she is working on her own time to help ensure we are able to reach the millions of Americans who stand to benefit starting this fall.”

But the image of an influential former White House adviser, who has also served on health industry boards, approaching a heavily regulated industry for big donations plays into the GOP narrative that the Obama administration will use whatever leverage it can muster to accomplish its political goals. And it comes as Republicans on the Hill are leveling plenty of their oversight scrutiny at Obamacare.

HHS has confirmed that Sebelius asked H&R Block and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to donate to Enroll America. She has spoken to industry groups about supporting the law generally but has not solicited funds from entities her department regulates, HHS has said. HHS said her actions have been legal and proper. …

Read the entire story online here.